The reflection below is the fourth in a series by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, about his observations and experiences as leader of Holy Name Province. The previous installment was published in October 2015.
Dear brothers and partners-in-ministry,
As Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province, the first week and a half of 2016 has not been as volatile as the stock market or as exciting as the Powerball lottery, but it has been filled with numerous good experiences for me and for the Province.
On Jan. 2, I joined with the friars of Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., to proclaim that their fraternity would be known now and into the future as a House of Prayer. This designation is significant for two reasons: it fulfills a directive (Article 15) that is given in the General Statues of the Order of Friars Minor (2010) and it implements one of the actions called for in the Decisions of the General Chapter 2015 at # 7, which encourages each Province to establish and sustain a House of Prayer. I am happy that we have now formally recognized what has been true of this fraternity since its inception, namely that it is a community where the prayer of these friars is a gift that they give to us and to our sisters and brothers in the world.
As a true “Jersey boy,” I was at the shore in Long Branch on Jan. 6 and 7 to join with more than 45 of our brothers for the meeting of those who are under 55 years of age. The purpose of the meeting was to reflect and discuss the models and the process of revitalization and restructuring among the seven provinces within the U.S. Our time was limited, but with a focused agenda and the skilled direction of our two facilitators, Larry Hayes, OFM, and Bill Beaudin, OFM, we were able to engage one another in beneficial conversation. What impressed me the most about the gathering was the deep passion these brothers have for the Order and for the Province. They are committed to do their best to enhance the quality of Franciscan life within our country so that they might share the Gospel with people.
I visited St. Anthony’s Parish in Butler on the weekend of Jan. 9 to preside at several Masses. Robert Norton, OFM, the pastor, is currently in a rehabilitation facility in Lincoln Park, N.J., recovering from a serious infection. Since Christmas, Brian Jordan, OFM, as well as a number of friars at St. Anthony Friary have been helping Emmet Murphy, OFM, the parochial vicar, to cover the Mass schedule. It was a joy to be in this parish and to meet so many people who have been served by the friars of our Province. I was very happy to have the opportunity to thank these good people for their past and ongoing support of all of us.
The remainder of this month will see me on the road again. First, I will be traveling to St. Petersburg, Fla., from Jan. 17 to 20 for the monthly Provincial Council meeting and to visit the friars at St. Anthony Friary. The house will be filled to capacity at this time since our meeting corresponds with the annual retreat for members of the Province. The Council has a full agenda of regular business and will be taking time to review the fraternal life plans developed by each local fraternity.
After this meeting, I will be in Denver to participate in the annual meeting of the Commission on the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition — known as CFIT. I will join Dominic Monti, OFM, and other Franciscan scholars to examine and promote the ongoing development of intellectual projects within the Order.
So, as I move through January, I am confident that the stock market will recover and even stabilize later in the year. I am less confident that I will win the Powerball lottery now or ever, but if I do, you can find the car — with the keys in it — parked at Newark Airport. It been great being with you all — I will be in touch (just kidding)!
— Fr. Kevin, a native of Paterson, N.J., is the 16th friar to serve as Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province. His term began in summer 2014.
- Provincial Minster’s schedule thorough March
- “Friars Under 55 Discuss Ideas for Future” — Jan. 12, 2016, HNP Today
- “An Update from Holy Name Friary” — Nov. 10, 2015, HNP Today
- “Franciscan Intellectual Tradition Project Progresses” — April 15, 2015, HNP Today